David Fleming (obituary)
Environmentalist and writer
David Fleming was born in 1940 and spent his childhood in southern England, the son of an eye-surgeon and an award-winning novelist. After school, he went to Oxford, taking a degree in history in 1963, before working in manufacturing, marketing, and financial public relations. He went on to take an MBA in 1968 and a PhD in economics in 1988. His real interests, however, were more in the realm of what might be termed the community spirit, whether that meant a club, a local pub, a church, or a choir. This direction led him into environmental issues, becoming chairman of the Soil Association in 1984 and developing ideas for new economic principles. He became aware of Peak Oil, and famously wrote an article unmasking the coded message in a 1998 report of the International Energy Agency, which showed demand outpacing supply by 2010 save for the entry of unidentified unconventional. That in turn led to a private meeting with one of the executives in the organisation, who virtually confessed. He developed the idea of tradeble energy quotas as a form of rationing, and in recent years worked on a magnum opus, Lean Logic: A Dictionary of the Future, which it is planned to publish posthumously, following his sad and unexpected death in 2010 at the age of seventy.
His true passion and genius was for exploring and understanding that mysterious thing called community, in all its disparate forms.